So you want a bigger quilt? I usually don’t recommend that beginners work on very large quilts as they are difficult to quilt on a domestic sewing machine. It’s probably better to make a small project first, to understand what’s involved and to learn all the techniques. Having said that my first quilt was 88” (224cm) so I understand the compulsion to make your first quilt for your own bed!
Every quilt after that was smaller until I found I could get my large quilts machine quilted by a professional. This is always a possibility for special quilts, when you’re in a hurry or if you just don’t like quilting a large quilt. Machine quilting can be expensive however, a quilt 80” x 80” can cost upwards of $180 to have professionally quilted.The cost depends on not only how big the quilt is but also on the style and density of quilting. The most economical is edge to edge quilting where a pattern is repeated across the quilt.
You can contact the NSW Quilter’s Guild for a list of machine quilters or search the internet for machine quilters in your area. You could also check out this Directory of Machine Quilters.
So you still want to make a bigger quilt, here are your options:
1) Make lots more pieced blocks! For a quilt that finishes at 82” you will need 25 pieced 12” blocks. With sashings cut at 3.5” and a border cut 5.5” wide you will get a quilt that looks like this
Lou made one like this but didn’t have enough of the border fabric for a continuous piece. Her solution was to piece the border strips.This a great option if you only have a small piece left and your fabric has a big pattern that makes matching seams difficult.
2) Alternate your pieced blocks with some plain fabric blocks to stretch it out.
Leslie did this with the quilt for her nephew using a vintage toy themed fabric:
thanks to Amy for this photo! http://badskirt.blogspot.com.au/#!/2011/11/yesterday-i-popped-up-to-north-side-of.html
3) Alternate your pieced blocks with simple pieced blocks that you can whip up quickly. You can find cutting and piecing diagrams to some simple 12” star patterns in the blog post by Piecemeal Quilts.
I used a Variable Star block alternated with pieced and applique blocks in this single bed quilt to give it some uniformity and make it a little bigger.
Next we’ll talk about wadding and backings and how to put the quilt sandwich together.